1 - David DeCastro, OG, Stanford (6-5, 316); 2 - Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State (6-7, 323); 3 - Sean Spence, ILB, Miami-Florida (5-11, 231); 4 - Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington (6-3, 248); 5 - Chris Rainey, WR, Florida (5-8, 180); 7 - Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado (6-2, 210); 7 - David Paulson, TE, Oregon (6-3, 246); 7 - Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M (5-10, 187); Kelvin Beachum, OG, SMU (6-3, 303)
Top Picks Analysis: Having been plagued by mediocre offensive line play in recent years, the Steelers stressed that department early on and came away with a pair of high-end prospects with their initial two selections. DeCastro is one of the soundest members of this rookie crop, a durable, low-risk player who excels in pass protection and can also move the pile in the run game, and will be an instant starter at one of the guard spots. Adams comes with far more uncertainty due to off-field issues and questionable work habits, but the ex-Buckeye is big and nimble enough to acquit himself on either side and provides a nice insurance policy against right tackle Willie Colon's injury problems. Pittsburgh's blueprint for getting younger on defense started with Spence, a fast and instinctive performer who should be an immediate asset on special teams but needs to add strength to take on blockers as an inside linebacker candidate.
Best Value Pick: The Steelers may have found their successor to the declining Casey Hampton in fourth-round choice Ta'amu, a massive space eater who's difficult to move and isn't a non-factor as a pass rusher.
Questionable Calls: Spence was a bit of a strange pick by a team that usually looks for bigger and stouter linebackers in their 3-4 defense. With mostly unproven players behind stalwart Ike Taylor at cornerback, not taking one until a seventh-round flyer was also somewhat of a gamble, as was the absence of a running back with Rashard Mendenhall rehabbing a torn ACL and entering the final year of his contract.
Summary: The Steelers got stronger across both lines of scrimmage by obtaining three potential starters in DeCastro, Adams and Ta'amu. The rest of the lot is mostly unspectacular, but the more pieces Pittsburgh can add to an aging roster, the better.
FINAL GRADE: B